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Israel Defeats South Korea on Day 1 of World Baseball Classic

Despite many missed opportunities, Israel defeated South Korea 2-1 in Game 1 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Seoul on early Monday morning USA time.

Israel took an early 1-0 lead scoring on a bases loaded walk to Tyler Krieger, but the big story was how Korea got out of a huge jam giving up just a single run. Israel loaded the bases with 1 out, but after the Krieger walk Scott Burcham struck out and Sam Fuld grounded out to end the inning.

Jason Marquis got the start for Team Israel, and pitched well. He pitched 3.0 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits while striking out 3 but came out due to pitch limits. With Marquis staying under 50 pitches he is eligible to come back and pitch again in Israel’s game against the Netherlands on Thursday.

Korea tied the game in the bottom of the 5th on a RBI single from Geon-chang Seo. Jeremy Bleich  got out of the inning without giving up anymore runs leaving it tied at 1 apiece.

Won-jun Chang pitched well for Korea getting the start. With a deeper pitching staff, Chang pitched to his limit of 65 pitches. He got through 4.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 2 hits. He walked 3 and struck out 5.

Israel threatened in the top of the 8th inning. Zach Borenstein walked with one out. Ike Davis came in as a pinch hitter and laced a ball down the right field line for a double putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. After Ryan Lavarnway was intentionally walked to load the bases, Tyler Krieger hit an excuse me ground ball to third base where Korea got a force out at home. Then Korea sent out Seung-hwan Oh the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. He quickly sat down Scott Burcham for the final out of the inning preserving the 1-1 tie.

After stopping the rally in the top of the 8th, Korea came right back in the bottom of the 8th. Kyun-kim Tae walked to lead off the inning. After Dae-ho Lee struck out swinging, Ah-seop Son singled to center putting runners at the corners with just 1 out. But a chopper to third led to nailing the runner at home leaving Korea with runners at 1st and 2nd and 2 outs. Josh Zeid somehow worked his way out of trouble though leaving it tied after 8 innings.

Israel really struggled with men in scoring position going 1-9. They left 14 men on base including the bases loaded more than once. The big hit came in the top of the 10th when Scott Burcham came up with an infield single with runners on the corners putting Israel up 2-1.

Zeid would finish off the game to pick up the win in relief. He tossed 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit, 2 walks, and struck out 4. Chang-yong Lim took the loss giving up a run in an inning of work.

Israel has a quick turn around for Game 2 early on Tuesday afternoon Seoul time. While South Korea will try to regroup and bounce back on Tuesday against a stout Netherlands.

See Full Box Score 

Israel Defeats South Korea

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WBC: Israel vs Chinese Taipei Game 1 Pool A Preview

Team Israel has a short turnaround for Game 2 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. After a late night game with host South Korea, they will turn around and play an early game Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.

Getting the start for Jerry Weinstein’s (@JWonCatching) Team Israel will be Corey Baker, a farmhand of the St. Louis Cardinals. Baker pitched last season in AA and AAA going 5-11 on the year with an ERA of 5.68. He will face a potent lineup for Chinese Taipei.

Baker’s opponent on the mound will be Chun-lin Kuo for Chinese Taipei. Kuo pitched in 2016 in the Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Seibu Lions where he went 0-3 with an ERA over 8. In two seasons in Japan, Kuo is 3-10 with an ERA of 6.00.

Players to watch:

Israel

Ike Davis – Look for the big power hitting lefty to get a start against the right handed starter. Davis is just a few seasons removed from hitting 32 homers for the New York Mets. He has struggled a bit in the past few years, but still poses a threat at the plate.

Sam Fuld – Fuld was everywhere it seemed in Game 1. Defensively he is still great in centerfield showing that with a diving save of a double off the bat of Dae-ho Lee. He will be a big part of the Israel offense moving forward if he can set the table.

Zach Borenstein – He had a big double in Game 1 off lefty starter Won-jun Chang. He could provide the power needed from the left side of the plate for Israel as they face Chinese Taipei.

Chinese Taipei

Kuo-Hui Kao – The Fubon Guardians outfielder had a huge year in 2016 in the CPBL with 34 home runs. The 31-year old who spent some time in the states getting as high as AA ball will anchor the lower half of the order.

Chih-Hsien Chiang – The third baseman for the Chinatrust Brothers will provide a potent 1-2 punch in the middle of the order for Chinese Taipei with Chih-sheng Lin. Both hit 30+ homers in 2016 with Chiang hitting .402 on the season.

Israel vs Chinese Taipei

Israel vs Chinese Taipei

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WBC: South Korea vs Israel Game 1 Pool A Preview

Quick preview of Game 1 of the 2017 World Baseball Classic – South Korea vs Israel from the Gocheok Dome in Seoul.

Israel is playing in its first WBC game having advanced to the 2017 Tournament through winning a qualifier in late 2016. Team Israel swept through the qualifier in Brooklyn by defeating Great Britain twice and Brazil once.

Israel will be sending 38-year old MLB veteran Jason Marquis to the mound against what Israel manager Jerry Weinstein called “a formidable team”. Marquis helped pitch Israel into the main tournament with a pair of outings last September. He tossed 7.0 innings giving up just 1 run on two hits. He will need similar stats if Israel can come up with a win.

Marquis opponent on the mound will be Won-jun Chang of the Doosan Bears. Chang put together a record of 15-6 with an ERA of 3.32 in the KBO in 2016. He has WBC experience having pitched the Pool B final in 2013 against Chinese Taipei.

South Korea is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 WBC when they did not make it past Round 1. They finished pool play with a  2-1 record but failed to advance due to the tiebreaker rules on run differential.

Players to Watch:

Israel:

Sam Fuld – Coming off a missed season due to shoulder surgery, and Fuld is looking to get a few at bats to impress perspective teams. He will face some good competition in Seoul and might work his way into a contract with a healthy showing.

Craig Breslow – A non-roster invitee to Spring Training with the Twins, Breslow could use a good showing in Seoul to help garner that next MLB assignment weather it is with the Twins or another team. There are a lot of good left-handed bats for Korea so he might come up in a big situation late in the game.

Nate Freiman – He absolutely crushed the competition in the 2012 Qualifier hitting 4 home runs, but Israel failed to make it to the big tourney. This time he will be facing off with a lefty and his big bat from the right side could play a big impact on the game and possible upset win over Korea.

South Korea:

Seung-hwan Oh – The Cardinals relief pitcher has been practically unhittable his entire career. If the game is close late, look for Oh to shut down the Israel bats with relative ease.

Hyoung-woo Choi – The Samsung Lions slugger put up incredible numbers a year ago (.376 avg/46 doubles/ 31 HR/ 144 RBI) but he has been in a slump (0-17) of late and might sit in Game 1. But look for him, if he doesn’t start, to have a big at bat off the bench. If he starts, look for him to bust out of his slump.

Tae-kyun Kim – The Hanwha Eagles slugger brings yet another big bat to the Korea lineup. In 2016, Kim slugged 23 home runs and 39 doubles. But the biggest thing that stood out to me is that he walked more times (108) than he struck out (97). So while he has a big bat and might swing and miss, he also has a good enough eye to take a walk setting up his teammates.

Game time is 4:30 AM ET and you can catch the action in several different places including MLB Network or MLB.TV.

South Korea vs Israel

South Korea vs Israel

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2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.

I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.

Pool A

Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.

My Standings:

  1. Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
  2. South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
  3. Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)

I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.

Pool B

Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.

  1. Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
  2. Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
  3. Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. China 0-3 (200:1 odds)

In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.

Pool C 

Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.

  1. Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
  2. United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
  3. Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
  4. Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)

This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.

Pool D

Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.

  1. Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
  2. Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
  3. Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
  4. Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)

This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.

Round 2

Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.

This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:

  1. Japan 2-1
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Cuba 1-2
  4. South Korea 1-2

Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.

  1. Dominican Republic 2-1
  2. USA 2-1
  3. Puerto Rico 2-1
  4. Venezuela 0-3

Finals 

The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Semifinals:

Dominican Republic 5,  Netherlands 2

Japan 3, USA 1

Championship

Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)

So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.

I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.

2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

 

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2017 World Baseball Classic Rules Announced

World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the rules and rule modifications for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which will begin on Monday, March 6th when Korea hosts Israel at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Final rosters for each of the 16 participating countries will be unveiled tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on MLB Network.

Please see the attached document for 2017 WBC rules and rule modifications. Notable rules include:

  • Tie-Breaker Game: If at the end of pool play in the First and Second Rounds of the Tournament, teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, then the tie shall be broken in the following order of priority with the higher ranked Federation Team serving as the home team.
    • First and Second Place Teams Tied: In the event that the first and second-place teams are tied for Pool Winner designation, the Team that defeated the other tied Team in that Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for that Round.
    • Three Teams Tied 2-1: If there are three teams 2-1, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first-ranked team would advance. The second and third-ranked teams would play an additional game to determine who the second-place team is. The tiebreaker rules applied would be as follows:
      • Step 1: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings for that Round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 2: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 3: The tied Teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that Round between the Teams tied.
      • Step 4: Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.
    • Three Teams Tied 1-2: If there are three teams tied 1-2, then the tiebreaker rules would be applied to rank the three, and the first two ranked teams would play a tiebreaker game, the winner of which would advance. The tiebreaker rules will be applied using the same four steps listed above.
    • Championship Round: The Semi-final game and Final game of the Tournament shall be conducted in a single elimination format. Each Semi-final game shall match a winner of a Second Round pool against a runner-up of the other Second Round pool. The winners of each Semi-final game shall meet in the Championship game of the Tournament.
  • Extra Innings: For any inning beginning with the 11th inning, the Federation Team at bat shall begin the inning with runners on first and second base. The batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead off the inning in the absence of this extra-innings rule. The runner on first base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the batter who leads off the inning. The runner on second base shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding the runner on first base.
  • Designated Pitcher Pool: Each Federation Team may identify a designated pool of 10 pitchers who are eligible to participate in one or more consecutive rounds. The list is submitted to WBCI at the time the Provisional and Final rosters are due. For the Federation Team to utilize the Designated Pitcher Pool, the Federation Team’s Final Roster shall include one or two pitchers from the pool. If no pitcher is listed from the pool, on their submitted roster to WBCI, the Federation Team is prohibited from using the Designated Pitcher Pool for the remainder of the Tournament. Once the pool pitcher is named on a Tournament roster and subsequently removed prior to the next round, the pitcher is no longer eligible to participate. After each round of the Tournament, any pitcher from an advancing Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool may be replaced on the Federation’s Final Roster with another pitcher from that Federation’s Designated Pitcher Pool, provided that no member of the Designated Pitcher Pool may be added back to his Federation’s Final Roster once he has been replaced by another member of the Designated Pitcher Pool. Affiliated members of the Designated Pitcher Pool who are not included on their federation’s Roster for a given round of the Tournament should report to or remain with their Major League Club, as directed by the Club. If the pitcher being replaced is an affiliated pitcher, he must return to his Major League Club’s spring training camp once he is no longer an active member of the Federation’s 28-man roster.
  • Video Replay Review: In the First and Second Rounds, video replay review by umpires shall be available to assist the umpires only in regard to plays involving home runs or potential home runs. If the umpire crew chief determines that video replay review is appropriate, the umpire crew chief shall conduct the review himself with participation from at least one other member of the umpire crew. For the Championship Round, video replay review by the umpires shall be available to assist the umpires in the same manner as used during the Major League Baseball championship season, with the exception of manager challenges.

Tickets for the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, which includes two semi-final games and the final game, are available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Tickets for WBC games played at Marlins Park in Miami, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Jalisco and Petco Park in San Diego are also available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. In addition, a special three-game ticket pack is available for Pool F in San Diego, and individual team ticket packs are available for Pool C in Miami.

In the United States, tournament games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch; while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish language coverage. Internationally, leading global media rights agency, MP & Silva has teamed with WBCI to distribute the tournament across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio – all territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan.

World Baseball Classic Rules

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Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

The defending champion Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster has been announced, and they may be on track to make it two in a row.

The Dominican will be led by the likes of Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, and Manny Machado in the infield. They have just as much talent everywhere else.

In 2013 starting pitcher Sam Deduno went 2-0 in 3 starts with a 0.69 ERA. He is back for more and should figure into the rotation for the team. Edison Volquez is also back after starting 3 times in 2013. Following up the starters is a bullpen that is full of strong arms. Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney are both back after pitching in 2013. Joining those two will be the likes of Jeurys Familia who had 51 saves a year ago with the Mets.

Another big arm in the bullpen will be Alex Colome. The young hard throwing righty savd 37 games for Tampa Bay a season ago. Dellin Betances saved 12 games a year ago for the Yankees pitching in 73 games. Over his 73 innings he struck out 126 or 15.5 per 9.

The defending champions will face off with Canada, Colombia, and the United States in Pool C in Miami, Florida. Their first game will come on Thursday March 9th at 6 PM EST versus Team Canada.

Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Fernando Abad
Dellin Betances
Santiago Casilla
Alex Colome
Bartolo Colon
Johnny Cueto
Sam Deduno
Jumbo Diaz
Jeurys Familia
Edgar Garcia
Carlos Martinez
Hector Neris
Ivan Nova
Wily Peralta
Alex Reyes
Hansel Robles
Fernando Rodney
Bryan Rodriguez
Enny Romero
Luis Severino
Cesar Valdez
Edinson Volquez

Catchers:
Welington Castillo
Alberto Rosario

Infielders:
Adrian Beltre
Robinson Cano
Manny Machado
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Carlos Santana
Jonathan Villar

Outfielders:
Jose Bautista
Nelson Cruz
Starling Marte
Gregory Polanco
Mel Rojas

 Dominican Republic 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

Other Rosters:
Team USA

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Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster Announced

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster was announced today, and it looks good at first glance. The team that manager Jim Leyland will be leading this go around will feature a lot of great young talent from the big leagues.

Catchers

Former NL MVP Buster Posey leads the catching crew this year, but he is paired up with two other strong guys behind the plate. This will be a key position because not only will they be looked to for some offensive punch, but they will be looked upon to lead this talented but young and diverse pitching staff. Joining Posey will be Jonathan Lucroy, who played in 2013, although sparingly. A.J. Ellis will be the eldest statesman behind the plate.

Infielders

This is the group that really excites me when I look at the group as a whole. Led by some established stars like Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kinsler the infield features some of the great young talent in the game from the USA. Nolan Arenado to me will be one to watch. The 25-year old is one that will show off his power and defense, but he will have big shoes to fill since David Wright really led the offense for Team USA in 2013 from the third base spot.

Another exciting player to watch from the infield will be Alex Bregman. He is a huge young talent, but with the breakdown of the roster it will interesting to see just how much playing time he will see.

Outfielders

This is an exciting group as well. Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, and Christian Yelich will be the guys patrolling the outfield for Team USA. Stanton and Jones both played in 2013, but neither was a huge impact for Team USA although they had good tournaments in different areas. Yelich might not be a name that many outside of Miami know, but the Marlins outfielder will show his talent come March. He can hit, hit for power, and can play multiple positions including centerfield if necessary.

Pitchers

The pitching staff will include some of the best young arms in the game with a mix of veterans. Chris Archer is one to watch for me. The young hard throwing righty could be a force to reckon with if he shows up sharp. The back end of the bullpen will be a strong point for Team USA as well with the likes of Sam Dyson, Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller, and David Robertson. Miller has already said he wants to be available for the entire tournament. Each team will have a pool of pitchers that they can choose from for each round which is why you will see so many names.

Team USA 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Pitchers:

Catchers:

Infielders:

Outfielders:

Manager:

USA 2017 World Baseball Classic roster

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Puerto Rico Wins 2017 Caribbean Series

Puerto Rico wins 2017 Caribbean Series Championship defeating Mexico 1-0 in 10 innings.

After going 1-3 in the round robin, Puerto Rico found its 2nd win to take down Venezuela in the semifinal before downing Mexico to take the title. It was the 2nd Series title for the Criollos de Caguas, the first since 1987.

It was a pitching duel the entire way. Puerto Rico starter Adalberto Flores had a no hitter into the 6th inning, but he had to exit in the 7th with a blister on his pitching hand. He finished the night tossing 6 innings allowing just 1 hit. Andres Santiago came in to shut down the Mexico bats for 2 innings, before Miguel Mejia picked up the win finishing the final 2 innings.

Hector Velazquez had a good night dancing out of trouble a few times for Mexico. He threw 6.0 shutout innings allowing just 5 hits. Jake Sanchez took the loss giving up 1 run in the 10th inning.

The only run of the game came on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning. Yadiel Rivera led off the inning with a double. He was moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt before Morales drove him home with the winning run.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

Tuesday, February 07:

Puerto Rico Wins 2017 Caribbean Series

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Mexico Back in Caribbean Series Championship

Mexico is back in the Caribbean Series Championship after defeating Cuba 1-0 on the arm of Miguel Pena and Daniel Rodriguez.

Pena pitched 5 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits. He stymied the Cuban bats all night longs striking out 4. Following him on the hill was Rodriguez who tossed 3 hitless innings of his own, while striking out 5. Jake Sanchez (S, 2) came into finish off Cuba to pick up his second save of the Series.

Offensively Agustin Murillo picked up the only RBI on a single to left to drive in Ronnier Mustelier. Mexico as a team only combined for 5 hits, and Cuba was limited to 2.

Lazaro Blanco (L, 1-1) pitched well but took the loss for Cuba. He went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out 5.

Mexico returns to the championship looking for the countries 5th title in 7 years. These two countries have been in the finals the past two Caribbean Series with each taking a title.

The Aguilas de Mexicali (Mexico) is looking for the club’s 2nd title in its history with the last coming in 1986. Their opponent will be the Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) who will be in search of a 4th Series title, with the last coming in 1987.

First pitch is slated for 9pm ET Tuesday night.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

Tuesday, February 07:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 9:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 4-1
  2. Cuba 3-2
  3. Venezuela 3-2
  4. Puerto Rico 2-3
  5. Dominican Republic 0-4

Caribbean Series Championship

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2017 National High School Invitational Teams Announced

The teams for the 2017 National High School Invitational have been announced. The annual tournament will be in its 6th season this year when the teams converge on Carey, North Carolina and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The tournament will take place from March 29-April 1.

Back again from last year will be the 2016 NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, CA). Several other schools are back for a second time, but none other has won a title.

Florida and California are the most represented states with the two combining for half the field. Illinois has its first ever contestant in the tournament with the invitation of Brother Rice High School out of Chicago.

The schedule for the 2017 edition of the tournament will be released February 21 as part of a pre-event video series that can be found at USABaseball.com.

2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)

2017 National High School Invitational

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2017 Caribbean Series Championship: Puerto Rico vs. TBD

A team that started 1-3 in the round robin will be in the 2017 Caribbean Series Championship, Puerto Rico. It defeated Venezuela in the semifinal this afternoon 9-6.

Puerto Rico held off a late inning rally for the win after almost blowing a 9-2 lead. Puerto Rico picked up 4 runs in the top of the first to jump out on top of Venezuela starter Mitch Lively, who didn’t make it out of the first frame. They continued pounding reliever Wil Ledezma for 3 runs over 2.2 innings before he was pulled.

Orlando Roman (W, 1-0) got the start for Puerto Rico and pitched well going 5.0 innings. He gave up just 1 run on seven hits while striking out 7. Reliever William Oliver was touched up for 4 runs in 2.2 innings, all in the 8th inning.

Venezuela made a comeback picking up 4 in the 8th, including a 2-run double from Ronny Cedeno. Venezuela then loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th, but Ricardo Gomez worked out of the jam to pick up the save.

Notable Performers: David Vidal hit a home run and drove in 2 runs for Puerto Rico. Henry Ramos set the table going 3-for-5 and scoring 2 runs from the lead off spot. Denis Phipps homered in the loss for Venezuela.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

  • Cuba vs Mexico

Tuesday, February 07:

  • Puerto Rico vs. TBD 9:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 3-1
  2. Cuba 3-1
  3. Venezuela 3-2
  4. Puerto Rico 2-3
  5. Dominican Republic 0-4

Caribbean Series Championship, Puerto Rico

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Mexico Wins with Walk-Off Grand Slam at Caribbean Series in Culiacan

Mexico improved to 3-0 at the 2017 Caribbean Series in Culiacan on Friday night after Sebastian Valle ended the night on a walk-off grand slam. The loss sent Venezuela to a 1-1 record.

For 8 innings the game was a pitching duel. Both starters went at least 5 innings and both only allowed a single run. Carlos Hernandez got the nod for Venezuela going 5.2 innings allowing just 5 hits. For Mexico it was Barry Enright who went 5 innings allowing just 5 hits.

The bullpens were on as well. Three relievers for Mexico, including Oliver Perez (W, 1-0), shut down the Venezuela bats for the remaining 4 innings.

Venezuela had three strong outings from its pen as well, until Pedro Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Rodriguez never got an out.

Luis Juarez singled to start the bottom of the 9th. Ronnier Mustelier was next to reach base before Jesus Castillo walked to load the bases. Then on a 3-2 count with no outs, Sebastian Valle blasted a no doubter to left field to send Mexico home with the win.

Mexico now sits atop the standings and is assured a spot in the semifinals next Monday regardless of what happens in its final game on Sunday night against Cuba.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 3-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-1
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Caribbean Series in Culiacan

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Cuba pounds 12 hits in win over Puerto Rico at 2017 Caribbean Series

Vladimir Garcia (W, 1-0) tossed 6.0 innings allowing just one run en route to leading Cuba to a 6-1 victory over Puerto Rico at the 2017 Caribbean Series. William Saavedra went 3-for-4 with a 2-run home run in the 7th inning improving Cuba to 2-0. The loss drops Puerto Rico to 0-3.

Cuba took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Carlos Benitez drove in Denis Laza with an RBI single to center. Puerto Rico quickly countered with a run of their own in the next half inning to put the score at 1-1.

It did not remain there for long.

In the bottom of the 3rd Cuba broke the game open with 3 more runs to pull ahead 4-1. Alfredo Despaigne got the scoring started with a RBI single to center scoring Yunior Paumier. William Saavedra followed with an RBI double. Carlos Benitez pushed the final run across the plate in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Despaigne.

Notable Performances: Saavedra finished the game with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Despaigne scored twice and Livan Moinelo pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Cuba will face off with Venezuela tomorrow night which could be a game between undefeated teams depending on how Venezuela handles a streaking Mexico tonight.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Cuba Caribbean Series

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Venezuela and Mexico Win on Day 2 of 2017 Caribbean Series

Day 2 of the 2017 Caribbean Series saw Venezuela turn away a late inning comeback from Puerto Rico as the small island nation dropped its second straight game.

Venezuela 4, Puerto Rico 3

Venezuela jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. After a disputed home run wound up as a double for Rene Reyes (1-for-4), Alex Romero (0-for-3) reached on a fielding error which allowed Reyes to score the first run of the game. The very next pitch was deposited in the left field stands by Jesus Flores (2-for-3) giving Venezuela a 3-0 lead.

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd. After two quick outs, Puerto Rico strung together 3 straight singles from David Vidal (2-for-4), Henry Ramos (1-for-4), and Ivan De Jesus (2-for-3) to score its first run of the game.

Venezuela upped the lead to 4-1 after the top of the 4th inning when Jesus Flores doubled with 2 outs. He would come around to score on a RBI single from Ronny Cedeno (2-for-4).

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ruben Gotay (1-for-2) walked and then David Vidal blasted a 2-run home run to left field pulling Puerto Rico to within 1 run. That is as close as they would get.

Omar Bencomo (W, 1-0) picked up the win after allowing just 1 run in 5 innings. He gave up just 4 hits and struck out 6. Hassan Pena (S, 1) picked up the save pitching a scoreless 9th inning. Adalberto Flores (L, 0-1) took the loss tossing 4 innings giving up 4 runs, 2 earned.

Mexico 7, Dominican Republic 2

Mexico jumped out quickly in the top of the 1st inning. Chris Roberson led off the game with a single to right, advanced to second on a ground out, and then scored on a single from C.J. Retherford giving Mexico a quick 1-0 lead.

But the Dominican Republic quickly tied up the game in the bottom of the 1st. Lead off hitter Ronny Rodriguez got it started by reaching on a throwing error by Mexico shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt that pulled the first baseman off the bag. That would come back to haunt Mexico after Zoilo Almonte hit a slicing line drive down the left field line for a double to score Rodriguez from first base.

The Dominican Republic took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 3rd on great base running from Ronnier Mustelier. Mustelier was on first and running on a pitch to Leury Garcia who popped it into right field. The ball fell for a single in front of the rightfielder and as the ball was tossed into second base from the outfield, Mustelier never slowed down and beat the throw home to score the go-ahead run.

However, Mexico would strike back in the top of the 5th inning. Xorge Carrillo led the inning off by getting hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Chris Roberson tapped back to the mound, but as pitcher Cesar Valdez was trying to throw him out at first he slipped and it was a bang bang play. Originally called out, Mexico challenged the play and the replay showed that Roberson just beat out the throw. So with runners at the corners, Jason Bourgeois came up with a big 2-run triple putting Mexico back on top 3-2.

Mexico put the game out of reach in the top of the 7th inning. After 2 quick outs, Jason Bourgeois tripled for the second time in the game. He would come home on a ground ball by Yuniesky Betancourt which was booted by Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara. That error would lead to two more runs as the next batter, C.J. Retherford, would launch a home run down the left field line to make it 6-2 Mexico.

Hector Velazquez (W, 1-0) picked up the win for Mexico. He tossed 5 innings giving up 2 runs, only 1 earned, on four hits. He struck out 7 and walked 3. Cesar Valdez (L, 0-1) took the loss going only 4.1 innings. He gave up 3 runs on six hits.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 1-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-2

Venezuela 2017 Caribbean Series

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Day 1 of 2017 Caribbean Series in the Books; Mexico and Cuba Win

Day 1 is in the books in the 2017 Caribbean Series. Cuba (Granma Alazanes) defeated the Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey) 4-0 to claim the first win of the series.

Cuba jumped out in front in the top of the 1st inning and never looked back. Lead off hitter Roel Santos (2-for-4) tripled to lead off the game. He would score two batters later when Dominican catcher Webster Rivas allowed a passed ball letting Santos scamper home from third with the first run of the game.

Later in the 5th inning, Cuba would add 3 more to finish all the scoring for the game. The inning began with a ground out and then things started to go downhill from there for the Dominican Republic pitching staff. Carlos Benitez walked on 4 straight balls. Frank Morejon followed Benitez with a single to right. After a quick trip to the mound, Yoelkis Cespedes singled to load the bases.

With the bases loaded and just one out, Edgar Garcia comes in to relieve Ivan Pineyro and promptly uncorked a wild pitch to make it 2-0 Cuba. On the very next pitch Roel Santos was back again doing damage. This time he doubled to right to score both Morejon and Cespedes to make it 4-0.

That would be all that Cuba would need as Lazaro Blanco (W, 1-0) shut down the Dominican bats for 6.1 innings. He struck out 6 and gave up just 5 hits to pick up the win. Livan Moinelo (S, 1) pitched the last 2.2 innings giving up just 2 hits to pick up the save.

Ivan Pineyro (L, 0-1) would take the loss going 4.1 innings allowing all 4 runs on 4 hits.

Cuba has Thursday off and will return to the field on Friday to face Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic will try and bounce back again tomorrow night against Mexico in their second game.

Game 2 – Mexico Puerto Rico

Former Braves and Orioles farmhand Daniel Rodriguez had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning. He made it 4.2 innings before it was broken up on a dying single to center field. Mexicali Centerfielder Chris Roberson (2-for-4) almost made a great sliding catch to keep the no-no alive, but the ball bounced out of his glove before falling safely. Rodriguez, pitching at home in Culiacan, last pitched in affiliated ball in 2015.

Matching Rodriguez inning for inning was Orlando Roman for Puerto Rico who tossed 5 shutout innings before being relieved by William Oliver in the 6th.

Daniel Rodriguez was relieved by Derrick Loop (W, 1-0) in the 7th inning only to give up a solo home run from David Vidal (1-for-3) giving Puerto Rico a 1-0 lead. Vidal turned on a pitch and blasted it down the left field line for only the 2nd hit for Puerto Rico.

Mexico rallied in the bottom of the 7th putting runners at the corners with 1 out and getting a run when Puerto Rico couldn’t turn a double play. One pitch later Chris Roberson blasted a 2-run home run to left-center field putting Mexico up 3-1 after 7.

In the top of the 8th, Ivan de Jesus (2-for-3) made it 3-2 with a blast to left field off of Mexicali reliever Sergio Romo. But Yuniesky Betancourt (1-for-4) got the 2-run lead back in the bottom of the 8th with an opposite field home run making it 4-2 Mexico.

Jake Sanchez (S, 1) came in to close it down in the 9th picking up the save.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

  • Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico 5:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Dom. Rep. 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Cuba 1-0
  2. Mexico 1-0
  3. Venezuela 0-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-1
  5. Puerto Rico 0-1

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments0 Comments

Shohei Otani will not pitch for Japan in 2017 World Baseball Classic

When the 2017 World Baseball Classic kicks off in just over a month, the world will not see one of the most dynamic superstars in the game today pitch. Shohei Otani has announced he will not pitch for Samurai Japan during the WBC. However, there is an outside chance he might hit.

Otani is a 22-year old superstar in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. He pitches and hits for the Nippon Ham Fighters, and last year he showed what he can do on both sides of the ball.

As a pitcher, Otani has gone 39-13 over the past four seasons with the Ham Fighters on the hill. He has tossed 12 complete games, including 6 shutouts. He has posted a career 2.66 ERA while striking out 10.3 per 9. In 2016, Otani went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA while striking out 174 over 140 innings.

But it does not stop there. He also hit in 104 games last season posting an OPS of 1.004. He hit 22 home runs and batted .322 with a .416 OBP. He is simply a beast at the plate and on the hill. And he is just 22.

It remains to be seen if he will hit during the WBC, but due to a recurring soreness in his right ankle.

Japan opens the WBC with Cuba on Tuesday March 7th. The Samurai are hosing Round 1 in Tokyo where they will face off with Cuba, China, and Australia. They are looking to reclaim the title they lost in 2013 after winning the first two installments of the WBC.

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Teams Set for 2017 Caribbean Series

The teams are set for the 2017 Caribbean Series to be held in Culiacan, Mexico. There will be a new club champion after the Venados de Matatlan, the 2016 winner, did not make the finals of the LMP playoffs.

Winners from the winter leagues of Mexico (LMP), Dominican Republic (LIDOM), Venezuela (LVBP), Puerto Rico (LBPRC), and Cuba play a round robin format with semifinals and finals to follow.

The teams competing are:

Dominican Republic – Tigres del Licey – The most accomplished team not only in the LIDOM with 22 titles, but also the most accomplished team in the history of the Caribbean Series with 10 titles. The Tigres last Series title was in 2008. To get back to the Series, for the first time since 2014, Licey needed all 9 games in the LIDOM Championship Series to get past the Aguilas Cibaenas.

Puerto Rico – Criollos de Caguas – The 17-time LBPRC champions, Caguas is back in the Caribbean Series for the first time since 2013. They will go in looking for their 4th Series title but the first since 1987. To get to the Series, Caguas needed 8 games to win 5-games-to-3 over Santurce.

Mexico – Aguilas de Mexicali – Winning its 4th LMP title, Mexicali last went to the Caribbean Series in 1999. It holds just a single Series title from 1986. Mexicali defeated the Caneros de los Mochis 4-2 in the LMP Championship Series to advance. They will look to keep the recent success of the LMP champions alive having won 4 of the last 6 Caribbean Series titles.

Venezuela – Aguilas del Zulia – This was the 6th LVBP Championship for Zulia, the last coming in 2000. The franchise has 2 Caribbean Series titles to its credit, but nothing since 1989. To get back to the Series this year Zulia defeated the Cardenales de Lara 4-1.

Cuba – Granma Alazanes – This was the first Serie Nacional de Beisbol or Cuban National Series title for Granma. It took 40 years for the club to claim its first title, and this will be its first trip to the Caribbean Series. Granma defeated the 2-time defending champion Ciego de Avila in the championship series sweeping them to take the title.

Total Caribbean Series Titles:

Dominican Republic 19 (last in 2012)
Puerto Rico 14 (last in 2000)
Mexico 9 (last in 2016)
Cuba 8 (last in 2015)
Venezuela 7 (last in 2009)
Panama 1 (1950) – no longer play in Caribbean Series

All games will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN3.com

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

  • Cuba vs. Dom. Rep. 5:00 p.m.
  • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 02:

  • Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico 5:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Dom. Rep. 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments0 Comments

Tigres del Licey win 22nd LIDOM Championship

The Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Domincana or LIDOM went a full 9 games this past week as the Tigres del Licey pulled off a 6-2 victory over the Aguilas Cibaenas to win the title. After going up 4-games-to-2, Licey fell twice as the Aguilas forced a decisive 9th game.

Going to the hill in the winner-take-all game was Cesar Valdez (W, 4-0) for Licey. Valdez tossed 5.0 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits while striking out 5. He picked up the win and held the Aguilas off long enough for the Tigres bats to come alive. For his efforts, Valdez was named MVP.

Leading just 1-0 heading into the top of the 6th, the Tigres bats exploded for 5 runs. Lead off hitter Mel Rojas Jr. (0-for-4) walked to start the inning. After Diory Hernandez (0-for-5) flew out to center, Samuel Deduno was pulled in favor of fellow reliever Juan Grullon. Grullon was rudely greeted by Engel Beltre (2-for-4) who promptly doubled to right putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Grullon then walked Rossmel Perez to load the bases. Then to put the Tigres up on top big, Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-4) doubled to left scoring all three runners on base. And that would do it on the day for Grullon after he failed to get an out and gave up 3 runs on 2 hits.

Licey would go on to add 2 more runs in the inning to go up 6-0 before the Aguilas would add 2 runs in the bottom of the inning.

Sergio Alcantara wound up setting the stage well going 4-for-5 in the lead off spot for Licey. He drove in 2 and scored 1.

Licey now heads to Culiacan, Mexico for the 2017 Caribbean Series where they will face off with Cuba in its first match on Wednesday February 1st.

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Aguilas de Mexicali Wins LMP Championship

The Aguilas de Mexicali took home the Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP) Championship Saturday night after a 13-1 drubbing of the Caneros de los Mochis. The win gave Mexicali the title and a spot in the Caribbean Series.

Mexicali pounded out 16 hits in the game. Five players had 2 or more hits including Yordanys Linares (3-for-3 with a home run), Yuniesky Betancourt (2-for-4, 6 RBI, and a grand slam), and Chris Roberson (3-for-5). The offensive attack was relentless as Mexicali scored in 6 straight innings.

While Mexicali was taking care of business at the plate, Hector Velazquez (W, 3-1) was taking care of things on the mound. Velazquez tossed 6.0 innings giving up just a single run. He struck out 4, walked 2, and scattered 4 hits. The Aguilas bullpen came in and shut down Los Mochis the rest of the way as Jose Meraz, Fautino De Los Santos, and Jake Sanchez each tossed a scoreless inning in relief.

Mexicali moves on to the 2017 Caribbean Series now to face Puerto Rico in their first game on Wednesday February 1.

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Netherlands will Feature Stacked Infield for 2017 World Baseball Classic

The Netherlands will feature some of the best young talent in Major League Baseball when they suit up during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The Red Sox Xander Bogaerts, the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar, the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop, the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, and the elder statesman at just 27 the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons will all play for the Netherlands. All but Gregorius played with the team in 2013, but now they are established major league talent.

Simmons has ranked as one of the best defensive players in the game over the past four seasons. He has led the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 112 since his first full season in 2013.

Bogaerts had a break out season in 2015 when he hit .320 for the Red Sox. He then turned himself into an offensive force in 2016 hitting .294 and slugging 34 doubles and 21 home runs.

Gregorius had his best season at the plate in 2016, his second in New York taking over for Derek Jeter. In 2016 he clubbed 20 home runs, 32 doubles, and hit .276.

Schoop stayed healthy last year and had his first complete season playing all 162 games for the Orioles. He hit .267 with 25 home runs, 38 doubles, and drove in 82.

Profar played in 90 games for the Rangers. He played every infield position and left field over the course of the year. He batted .239 with 5 home runs and 3 triples.

In 2013 the Netherlands made it to the semifinals eventually losing to the eventual champion Dominican Republic. This year they will begin in Pool A in Seoul, South Korea. There they will battle the host country, Chinese Taipei, and Israel for a spot in Round 2.

Posted in Europe, Tournaments, News0 Comments

Three More Players Confirmed for Team USA

Three more players have been announced to pitch for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Colorado Rockies Jake McGee has been confirmed to play alongside teammate Nolan Arenado.

The 30-year old lefty had 15 saves in 19 attempts a year ago for the Rockies. He wound up moving out of the closer’s spot after a few rough outings and stint on the disabled list.

Joining McGee on the Team USA pitching staff will be Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson. Last season the 31-year old hurler saved 37 games in 44 attempts. That was the third straight year he had 30+ saves in a season.

And finally Giancarlo Stanton has been confirmed to play for Team USA. This will be the second time Stanton will suit up for Team USA in the WBC. He was apart of the team in 2013 as well.

Posted in N. America, Tournaments, News, MLB0 Comments

Criollos de Caguas Win LBPRC Championship, Advance to Caribbean Series

The Criollos de Caguas have won the best-of-9 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (LBPRC) Championship by taking Game 8 over the Cangrejeros de Santurce. Caguas needed extra innings to pull off the series clinching win on Wednesday night.

After a huge bottom of the 6th for Caguas when they scored 4 runs, Santurce made a come back to tie it at 5 by scoring a run in the 7th and a run in the 8th only to see their series end after Caguas scored a run in the bottom of the 12th.

With two outs, David Vidal (1-for-6) reached on a throwing error by right fielder Juan Silva allowing him to advance to second base. The next hitter came up big to send Caguas on to the Caribbean Series with a walk-off single. The hero of the night would be Henry Ramos (3-for-5).

Orlando Roman pitched well in the start for Caguas, but failed to complete 5 complete. He only allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 4.2 innings. Ricardo Gomez blew the save late allowing an inherited runner score going 3.2 scoreless innings of relief striking out 6. Joel Pineiro (W, 1-0) picked up the win tossing a scoreless inning in relief.

Caguas will advance on to Culliacan, Mexico to play for its 4th Caribbean Series title. Its last came in 1987. They will begin the series facing off with Mexico on Wednesday February 1.

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments0 Comments

Aguilas de Zulia Win LVBP Championship, Advance to Caribbean Series

The Aguilas de Zulia took down the Cardenales de Lara in the Liga Venezolana Beisbol Profesional or LVBP Championship yesterday. The 5-2 victory sealed Zulia’s seventh title and gives them a spot in the 2017 Caribbean Series.

The Aguilas rode the right arm of Mitch Lively to the win. Lively tossed 7.0 innings allowing just one run on two hits. He struck out five to pick up his second win. Raul Rivero (L, 0-3) did not pitch terrible but took the loss giving up three runs over 7.0 innings.

The offense for Zulia was jump started in the bottom of the 1st inning with a 2-run home run by Jose Pirela (1-for-3). Endy Chavez (2-for-2) chipped in with a RBI and was the only Zulia hitter with more than one hit.

Jesus Montero (1-for-4) and Carlos Rivero (1-for-4) both hit solo home runs for the only runs that Lara would score. The Cardenales only managed 4 hits the entire game.

Zulia will travel to Culiacan, Mexico to try and pick up their 3rd Caribbean Series title. They will open up on Thursday February 2 against Puerto Rico.

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments0 Comments

Chinese Taipei Announce Roster for 2017 World Baseball Classic

Chinese Taipei has released its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Most of the players will come from the Chinese Professional Baseball League or CPBL. There will be a few that come from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and only two from the minor leagues in the USA. The Lamigo Monkeys of the CPBL did not make any of their players available for the tournament unlike the other three teams in the league.

Chinese Taipei will play in Pool A in Seoul going up against the host South Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands. It will not be an easy road to Round 2 coming out of Seoul, but Chinese Taipei will have a lot of talent. They open up the WBC on Monday March 6th against Israel.

The guys over at CPBL English have a great post that shows every player’s stats from a year ago. You can find that by clicking here.

Chinese Taipei 2017 World Baseball Classic Roster:

Catchers
Name League Team
Kun-Sheng Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Da-Hong Cheng CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Infielders
Name League Team
Chih-Sheng Lin CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Chiang, Chih-Hsien CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Chi-Hung Hsu CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Yi-Chuan Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chih-Hsiang Lin CPBL Uni Lions
Yung-Chi Chen CPBL Uni Lions
Sheng-Wei Wang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Outfielders
Name League Team
Dai-Kang Yang NPB Yomiuri Giants
Cheng-Wei Chang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Che-Hsuan Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chin-Lung Hu CPBL Fubon Guardians
Kuo-Hui Kao CPBL Fubon Guardians
Chih-Hao Chang CPBL Chinatrust Brothers

 

Pitchers
Name League Team
Chen-Hua Lin CPBL Fubon Guardians
Ming-Chin Tsai CPBL Fubon Guardians
Fu-Te Ni CPBL Fubon Guardians
Sheng-Hsiung Huang CPBL Fubon Guardians
Wei-Lun Pan CPBL Uni Lions
Yun-Wen Chen CPBL Uni Lions
Ching-Ming Wang CPBL Uni Lions
Kuan-Yu Chen NPB Chiba Lotte Marines
Chun-Lin Kuo NPB Seibu Lions
Chia-Hao Sung NPB- Rakuten Golden Eagles
Hung-Wen Chen CPBL Chinatrust Brothers
Shao-Ching Chiang A Lake County Captains
Kuo-Hua Lo A Cedar Rapids Kernels

Posted in Asia, Tournaments, News0 Comments

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Polls

Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

  • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
  • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Canada (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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